The Global Power Elite
East And Africa
and Central Europe
Queens and Dictators
Reported by Jose Aguayo, Katrina Burger, Bernard Condon,
Michelle Conlin, Justin Doebele, Carleen Hawn, Stephan Herrera, Stephen
S. Johnson, Naazneen Karmali, Paul Klebnikov, Luisa Kroll, Juliette
Rossant, Daniel Roth, Silvia Sansoni, Carrie Shook, Cristina von Zeppelin,
Caroline Waxler, Neil Weinberg and Soo Young Yoon
Additional research by Cynthia Crystal, Velma Van
Voris and Courtney Porter
BILLION BUCKS isn't what it used to be. Own a few apartment buildings
in Tokyo, and—even in this market—you're almost certainly worth
a bill. Take a high-tech company public when it's hot, and you're
in the no-longer-so-exclusive billionaire club.
Ten years ago Forbes started counting billionaires outside the
U.S. We found 96. Last year, 298—plus 149 American billionaires.
With stock markets around the world up an average 23% in the last
year, the billionaire population, like the deer population, is sure
to have increased.
Bowing to economic reality, we have revised our selection process
this year. A billion bucks no longer gets you in. You've got to
have made it yourself, or you've got to be actively managing it.
This eliminates a fair number of jet-setters and Palm Beach residents.
We have culled the roster of billionaires down to 200 people around
the globe, the Global Superrich.
Take Dell Computer's Michael Dell. He is by no means the richest
on the list, but the company he has built is shaking the computer
industry to its core.
Sixty of the Global 200, 30%, are Americans—roughly in line with
the U.S.' 26% share of the world's gross economic product. Asia
accounts for 56 names on the list, a reflection of the dynamism
in Asia in the 1990s. Only 44 call Europe home, a comment on that
region's declining economic status. Their fortunes were valued using
stock prices from early June.
From the Global 200 Forbes editors have highlighted ten who we
think are the most creative and successful—though again not necessarily
the wealthiest—businesspeople in the world today. They appear starting
on the right. The choices are, of course, somewhat subjective, but
in business as in everything else you can't judge an entrepreneur's
importance simply by the size of the pile he has made. In places
like India or Eastern Europe someone who has put together a $250
million fortune is probably worth knowing as much as your average
American billionaire is. We address this problem by including 27
"heavy hitters"—men (yes, they're all men) who aren't yet worth
a billion, but who nonetheless wield outsize influence in their
Do you want to know more about the superrich in the issue, plus
several individuals who for one reason or another barely missed
inclusion in these pages? Check out The Digital Tool, Forbes' new
Web site. Among the features is a search engine that allows you
to parse the data—you can, for example, ask for the subgroup of
billionaires under age 40 who also hold M.B.A. degrees. Also available:
addresses and telephone and fax numbers for the publicly owned companies
that are the source of wealth for many of these global plutocrats.
Try Forbes Digital Tool at http://www.forbes.com/tool/toolbox/billionaires/index.asp